JESUS OF HISTORY:
Not written as a historical document (meaning,
that it is not written for the sake of preserving an objectively accurate
historical record), but as the articulation of a living faith of a community
convicted of the truth of Christ as the Risen Lord.
Inconsistencies and Contradictions within
the New Testament account.
This faith provides the interpretative
lens by which the entire life story of Jesus is told.
e.g., knowledge of the self as a being-towards-death,
‘map is not the territory,’ and selectivity of an autobiography.
Incompletion of the historical record.
Did Jesus’ earthly ministry last 1 or
Did Jesus proclaim himself as the Son
of God, or did he attempt to preserve the ‘messianic secret’?
Did Jesus visit Jerusalem only once, or
Was he born in Nazareth or Bethlehem?
Did his family take him to Egypt as an infant or not?
Issue of the canonization of the New Testament
and the establishment of orthodoxy.
What occurred during the ‘lost years’
up to the beginning of his ministry at age 30?
What authority do other ‘gospels’ written
concerning this period of his life hold for a more complete understanding
of the historical Jesus?
This means that some ‘gospels’ were excluded
from the New Testament b/c they were not in full agreement with what had
become the established, institutional Church.
e.g., Gospel of Thomas?
We know certain things about the
variety of ways in which ancient Judaism was practiced during the time
concerning what faithfulness to YHWH meant (e.g., Sadducees, Pharisees,
Turbulent socio-historical milieu
Threat of persecution and oppression
from the Roman Empire
Widespread spirit of unrest and
many different religious alternatives (e.g., mystery cults)
[Albert Schweitzer: Quest
for the Historical Jesus
We know virtually nothing about who the
historical Jesus actually was.
What we do know means that he was wrong
(i.e., Jesus as apocalyptic prophet)]
CHRIST OF FAITH
Gospels were written as a record of the
significance of Jesus’ life and teachings for the contemporary life of
Epistles interpret Jesus’ significance
as th Christ on a cosmic, or world-historical, scale.
Jesus as moral example
Jesus as teacher of wisdom
Jesus as interpreter of Law
Jesus as Lord and Savior
New Testament tells the history of the
Christ as ‘stumbling block’ and
as an offense to Reason
Incarnation as the meeting-point
between the divine and human realms, as the coming together of eternity
Christ’s death and resurrection
as the atonement for sins
Message of Christ makes God’s covenant
with Israel open to all (“In Christ, there is neither Jew nor Gentile,
slave nor free, male nor female”)
Paul mythologizes Jesus as the Christ
– the creation of Christian theology
Followers of Jesus gifted with the
Holy Spirit on the day of Pentacost
Community is set apart by their
love for one another
Record of the developing institutionalization
of Church offices and discipline
Formation and Refinement of Orthodoxy
Doctrine of the Incarnation:
the two natures of Christ – fully God and fully human
Doctrine of the Trinity: Economic
and Immanent Trinity as means for expressing the ongoing salvific activity
Major Branches of Christianity:
1. Eastern Orthodox
2. Roman Catholic